January 23, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
North Wood’s temperatures return to more normal readings this week, though with highs still in the 20s (and that is above zero!) There are chances of precipitation nearly every day, but as snow rather than rain after the first of the week.
“There were a lot of anglers out last week,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but with many conflicting reports about success!
“Walleye action is good on the deeper lakes with sucker minnows and shiners, with best action in evening into after dark (shallower weeds after dark). In the afternoons, vertical jig deeper water with fathead or shiner pieces.
“Northern pike action is good with shiners under tip-ups fished in the weeds. Pike are daytime feeders and you can get fish in the weeds all day. Many anglers set two tip-ups for pike and the third for panfish.
“Crappies are in deeper water and holes, and vertical jigging small jigs works very well. Bluegills are in weeds, hitting waxies. Perch are hitting crappie minnows and waxies in the weeds and near bottom in soft bottom areas.”
“Walleye fishing is a little tougher, but there are still decent reports from most lakes. Fish deeper, steeper breaks in 20-30 feet. Jigging presentations with spoons, Jigging Raps, and Slab Raps are getting reaction strikes, and tip-ups with walleye suckers and medium shiners are getting fish as well.
“Northern pike offer the best action going on weed flats and bars in 5-20 feet. Tip-ups with large shiners work well, and some anglers are getting fish on jigging spoons.
“There is a fairly good panfish bite on tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and plastics in 10-25 feet. Keep moving until you find some biting fish!”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage northern pike are producing the most action thus far.
“Shiners on tip-ups are the bait of choice for pike anglers, with the most active pike generally bigger fish more than 30 inches long. Crappie fishing is a bit slower than usual on the Flowage, but a few spots are producing consistent action. This is particularly the two deep holes in front of Popple Island – try between 20-30 feet.
“Round Lake walleye fishing is also slower than usual, but anglers are still catching some nice fish on walleye suckers under tip-ups. If you are getting less action in the shallows, do not be afraid to try a little deeper water.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says the Ashland side of Chequamegon Bay ice is holding up to the warm spell.
“Anglers are still driving vehicles in town and from behind Anglers All, but using machines off Second Landing. Anglers going as far as Long Island are doing well on whitefish and brown trout, while those scattered throughout the channel and out by the lighthouse and breakwall are catching everything from whitefish to perch that are running larger than in previous years.
“The Washburn side of the Bay is fishable, but with thinner ice, and with the rain we are having anglers should be extremely careful.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses a new study on northern pike limits and harvest patterns.
“Recently, Wisconsin DNR researcher Dan Oele and his colleagues published a paper examining how northern pike populations respond to length limits. The researchers compared pike populations in lakes with no minimum length and a 5-bag daily limit to lakes with a 26-inch minimum/2-bag daily limit and those with a 32-inch minimum/one-bag daily limit.
“Study results indicate that more restrictive limits did improve the size of pike compared to lakes with very liberal limits, but lake characteristics also determined a lot about the size structure of pike populations. Size structure was better on lakes with higher angler pressure, less clear water, and lower overall pike density.
“Creel data examined as part of the study showed anglers are catching pike at a higher rate than in the past, but they are harvesting fewer of those pike. The researchers believe pike anglers are becoming more size selective than in the past and are less willing to harvest smaller fish.”
The DNR is hosting a public meeting Tuesday January 31, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Hayward Veteran’s Center, to gather public input on a proposed walleye management experiment. The thought is that large numbers of bass and sunfish can make it difficult for walleye populations to thrive. As such, the DNR is proposing an experiment (on ONE lake) that includes a full-scale reduction of bass and sunfish species to understand their influences on walleye survival and reproduction. The DNR’s list of lakes where this experiment might be successful includes Lower Clam and Osprey lakes in Sawyer County; Drummond and Buffalo lakes in Bayfield County; and Deep and Slim lakes in Washburn County. The complete list of lakes is available at http://tinyurl.com/sunfish-removal.
The Hayward DNR fish team invites the public to attend the 2017 Winter Fisheries Forum Wednesday January 25, starting at 6 p.m., at Hayward High School. The DNR considers this forum a good opportunity for the public to provide feedback on fisheries issues that matter to them. This year’s forum includes a presentation by UW-Stevens Point researcher Jason Gostiaux, who is studying walleye recruitment in the Hayward area, and detailed discussions on Lac Courte Oreilles pike management, Chippewa Flowage panfish, regulation change proposals, and other topics. For more information, contact Max Wolter (715-634-7429).
SNOWMOBILE TRAIL REPORT
Note: Trail conditions can change quickly, especially this winter, so always check with local businesses for the most current ice and trail conditions and trail closures.
The January 23 HLVCB trail report says Sawyer County trails are open, but forest trails are in poor to fair condition, trails in the open are bare and in poor condition, and lake trails have water on the ice. The forecast calls for normal temperatures and snow, so we could have great conditions by this weekend!
The January 19 Hayward Power Sports trail report says wooded trails have a 6- to 8-inch base and are snow covered; trails in open areas have scattered bare spots. Staked lakes have a good foot or so of ice. Trails are open in Bayfield, Ashland, Washburn, and Price counties; Rusk and Barron counties closed trails.
The January 19 Namakagon Trail Groomers trail report says future grooming operations are on hold until there is a change in temperatures and base – we can only work with what the weather allows! Thank you, riders, for taking it easy with the warm weather.
The Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club is hosting a “Ride to Lunch” from Stone Lake to Birchwood Thursday January 26. Meet at 10 a.m. at Bar H Implement in Stone Lake. For more information, call (715) 865-2486.
Walleye action is good, especially in late evening into dark, with some deeper water jigging action during daytime hours. Look for deep/steep breaks in 18-30 feet and deeper, working shallow weed areas after dark. Use walleye suckers, shiners, and fatheads under tip-ups and on jigs, or try jigging spoons, Jigging Raps, Slab Raps, and other jigging baits.
Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent on most lakes. Look for weeds, weed flats, bars, and grass beds in depths from shallow to more than 20 feet, especially in areas holding minnows and panfish. Baits of choice include large shiners and northern suckers under tip-ups, as well as jigging spoons.
Crappie action is good to very good, but plan on moving around to find and keep on top of active fish. Concentrate on depths from 10-30 feet, particularly in deep holes. Tip small/tungsten jigs and teardrops with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good in mid-depth to deeper weeds for anglers using waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs.
Perch fishing is fair to good in depths to 25 feet or so around weeds and on soft bottom areas. Use small jigs tipped with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, and plastics.
Jan. 25: DNR winter fisheries forum, Hayward High School, 6 p.m. (715-634-7429).
Jan. 26: Relic Riders “ride to lunch” at Birchwood, 10:30 a.m. (715-865-2486).
Jan. 31: DNR walleye management meeting, Hayward Veterans Center, 6:30-8 p.m.
Jan. 31: Seasons close: Grouse in North Zone; Bobcat Period 2; Squirrel.
Feb. 2: DNR public meeting on master planning for Totogatic Wildlife Area; 4-6 p.m., Hayward High School.
Feb. 4: Flambeau River State Forest 25th annual candlelight event 6-9 p.m. (715-332-5271).
Feb. 7: Cable Rod and Gun Club ice fishing contest (715-798-3099).
Feb. 15: Seasons close: Coyote trapping; Raccoon hunting/trapping; Red and gray fox gun/trapping.
Feb. 18: Drummond Sno-Jacks 18th annual bar stool races (715-739-6645).
Feb. 25: American Birkebeiner (715-634-5025).
Feb. 26: Seasons close: Cottontail rabbit; Mink trapping.